If you’ve noticed your search engine rankings slipping lately, blame it on Google’s new Panda. According to the site Search Engine Land:
…sites previously hit may escape, if they’ve made the right changes. Panda may also catch sites that escaped before. A refresh also means “false positives” might get released.
Plenty of travel sites and others have been unfairly penalized here (notably eBay), especially if they haven’t kept up with best SEO practices. Those who have will probably be fine. But it’s still hard to define what is a low or poor quality site, which is what this update was gunning for.
You might generate the most popular keywords, include them into natural sounding copy on your webpages, update your site until you can’t take it anymore. You post on social media, engage with your fans and friends. You send out emails that drive traffic back to your site.
Well, it seems you’re doing everything right. But that seemingly gentle search animal just won’t give you a fair break.
A little sports-related aside here: The San Francisco Giants third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, has just gotten back in the hitting groove after languishing for the first half-dozen weeks of the season, right at the same time this algorithm has shown up. He raised his batting average from a measly .171 in mid-April to a respectable .246 as of today.
As Sandoval has started to intimidate National League and few American League pitchers, so Google has with started to with bad sites.
His nickname? Panda. Coincidence? I’d like to think so
But to make sure that your site isn’t caught in the snares of a seemingly harmless virtual creature, make sure you’ve done the following:
- Find out if you’re using the right keywords for your travel site. Do a quick evaluation of keywords on Google’s Keyword Planner, or the tool of your choice. Look for words with high search volume and low competition.
- Choose two or three of those keywords and weave them into your website copy, so it sounds natural. Never, ever keyword-stuff!
- Keep your website updated with fresh content, whether that’s with frequent blog posts, changing website copy, on-site social media postings, etc.
- Encourage your followers to link to your site on their social media postings and shares (the “Like Us” on Facebook or “Tweet this” on Twitter strategies, but there are plenty more)
- Develop relationships with solid bloggers, who’ll write about your tour offerings and naturally link back to your site.
- When writing emails, be sure to link back to your site with the landing page.
The newest version of Panda doesn’t have to be such a mean bugger for your travel business. Understand that it’s just a further refinement of weeding out the crappy websites out there, and you’ll be fine.
What have you done to help your business’s website stay ahead of the newest Google changes? Share you thoughts below!